Accurate predictions of postmortem interval using linear regression analyses of gene meter expression data

Forensic Science International : Synergy
M Colby HunterPeter A Noble


In criminal and civil investigations, postmortem interval is used as evidence to help sort out circumstances at the time of human death. Many biological, chemical, and physical indicators can be used to determine the postmortem interval - but most are not accurate. Here, we sought to validate an experimental design to accurately predict the time of death by analyzing the expression of hundreds of upregulated genes in two model organisms, the zebrafish and mouse. In a previous study, the death of healthy adults was conducted under strictly controlled conditions to minimize the effects of confounding factors such as lifestyle and temperature. A total of 74,179 microarray probes were calibrated using the Gene Meter approach and the transcriptional profiles of 1063 genes that significantly increased in abundance were assembled into a time series spanning from life to 48 or 96h postmortem. In this study, the experimental design involved splitting the transcription profiles into training and testing datasets, randomly selecting groups of profiles, determining the modeling parameters of the genes to postmortem time using over- and/or perfectly-defined linear regression analyses, and calculating the fit (R2) and slope of predicted vers...Continue Reading


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